Highly-rated Haaland staying focused on ‘biggest game of career so far’

Red Bull Salzburg goalscoring sensation Erling Braut Haaland insists he is not distracted by speculation linking him to some of Europe’s top clubs.

The 19-year-old has taken the Champions League by storm on his debut in the competition and his eight goals so far is bettered only by Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.

Haaland, son of former Leeds and Manchester City midfielder Alf-Inge, has scored 28 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions this term and has five hat-tricks to his name, including one on his Champions League debut.

That has, understandably, led to him being linked with a number of clubs but the teenager is remaining focused on the job in hand: namely beating Liverpool on Tuesday to secure a place in the knockout stage at the defending champions’ expense.

“I’m just focused on my job: playing football. I try to enjoy what I do every day, and go in with a clear mindset and enjoy the moment right now,” he told a press conference.

“My focus now is on Salzburg and me as a player. It is not hard at all. I am enjoying every day playing football.

“My father was a former player so he has been helping me but I also have a lot of friends who also help me in these situations.

“Doing what I am doing every week it is not easy but that’s what I try to do. My father has been helping a lot.

“This is the biggest game of my career so far. Matches like this are what you dream of so I am enjoying it. I’m living the dream.”

Salzburg coach Jesse Marsch has praised the way the youngster has coped with the attention which has been thrust upon him.

“This not a new theme, there has been a lot of talk. At one point we had a joke at a press conference that every day there was a new team interested,” Marsch said.

“It is natural. Erling has had a great season and it is easy to see he is likeable and cares about the right things.

“You don’t see him in the team every day like I do and that’s what makes him special, he cares so much about the team and team success.

“Erling doesn’t have success without the whole group understanding how to play with each other and committing to each other.

“In the end he has handled himself incredibly well given all the talk of potentially what will happen.

Haaland
Haaland is looking to continue his record of having scored in every Champions League match (Nick Potts/PA)

“We’ve tried to communicate with Erling and his father to make sure we stay focused on all the things in the moment.

“The biggest thing is he is living in the moment and he has done that well, as has the whole group.”

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